Breaking into a New Area of Chemistry

A team of chemists at a start-up used Reaxys and ScienceDirect, jointly, to limit the chemical reactivity of sodium metal, and reserve funding for business development in the process.

Breaking into a New Area of Chemistry - Alpha Moment


Discovering How to Limit Sodium Metal's Reactivity
After receiving funding from a venture capital firm, a team of chemists at a start-up began working on a project to limit the chemical reactivity of sodium metal. Along the way, the company’s Director of Development wanted to preserve as much of the funding as possible by increasing R&D efficiency.


Creating the Right Experiment
The director’s team used Elsevier’s Reaxys database and ScienceDirect information solution to quickly find the best way to conduct the lab work. We had our chemists use Reaxys to search through reactions that used sodium metal, and then used a filtering process to break them down into different reaction categories, explains Peter Volta*, the development director. The team clicked through to full-text literature references and relevant chemical information in ScienceDirect to gain context. Then, they narrowed their selection to 15-20 chemical transformations, modeling their experiment after a university professor’s who had previously invented a stable form of sodium metal.

The chemists duplicated the experiment to determine the yields and purity, and then conducted a full characterization of our product , adds Volta. After that, we were able to easily interpret the results.

Because we had such quick access to the information, it minimized the time that we spent on the project. Peter Volta, Development Director, Start-Up


Faster Commercialization and Bigger Sales at a Savings
The team was able to break into a new area of chemistry based on its search results, and also reserve a larger portion of its funding for marketing and business development. Because we had such quick access to the information, it minimized the time that we spent on the project, says Volta. As a result, we saved on labor costs and gained useful insights for reporting on our technical data sheets.

Volta was able to enter the commercialization phase more quickly, with an impressive product technical data sheet, which he now uses to show clients his team’s scientific and manufacturing capabilities, and boost sales.

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